This last month with my E has been an uphill battle. We’ve had lots of transition and change in our family, and mourned a significant loss. And he’s never been good with that. We’ve had tantrums, regressions, hitting, throwing and destruction (from E not from mama…) and lots and lots of tears (from BOTH of us). Many days have ended in defeat and frustration.

But today…I decided to get the babe down for his early nap and take my big out. We’ve had such limited mama + E dates since brother arrived and that is on me. To be honest, I’ve been stretched beyond my capacity and anything extra just seemed too much.

But as we sat at caribou drinking coffee (steamer for him!) and playing games, I remembered. I remembered my sweet boy and what it used to be. Such joy and light his smile brings and he was just radiating after our one-on-one time. We ended our date at the dollar store where he painfully decided what to pick with his hard-earned chore money. An hour later (no seriously…) he arrived at an index card notebook, washi tape dispenser, and Christmas stamps. And in this moment, I couldn’t help but giggle – because this is just so him and he embodies so much of me.

And I know in my heart that is why parenting his is so hard. He is me in so many ways and it’s humbling to admit that the things in him that challenge me are my own traits. My stubbornness and strong-willed personality, my passion for the things I believe in, my perfectionism, my BIG feelings for myself and others, and my need to control situations. He has all of those things. And parenting is just like that – it’s like looking in the mirror and learning how to love and give grace to all of your traits, even the ones you hate. It’s about remembering that there is good in it all – in our weaknesses and in our strengths. It’s about reminding myself that I don’t need all of the answers.

But I did find one answer today – my E needs me, just me. His day was amazing all because I set aside a few hours to honor him, see him and enjoy him. I try so hard to give him that time when Cooper naps, but let’s be honest my focus is still divided because of ALL the things. We needed to leave the baby with dad and just go. He needed my undivided focus and I learned that I Needed this quality time too. I needed to remember the good because so many of our moments lately have been not so great.

So today marks a change – but one my E will do well with. Today I am committing to more mama + e dates. More time and space for just him. Because each of my kids deserves that. And my number one goal as mama is always that my boys feel seen, heard, loved and valued for who they are. If that’s all I accomplish in the day, then it is worth it.

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Remember, you were never created to do it all and you were never created to do it alone.